Giavotella was named the starting second baseman
Texas League President Tom Kayser on Tuesday announced the Texas League All-Star rosters, and nine players on the NW Arkansas Naturals were selected to represent the North Division, including five starters. Indeed, the first-place Naturals put more players on the All-Star roster than any other team in the league.
The Texas League All-Star Game will be played on Wednesday, June 30th in Midland, Texas, home of the RockHounds. The rosters were selected by a panel that included Kayser and Texas League managers, coaches, broadcasters, and beat writers. NW Arkansas skipper Brian Poldberg will manage the North Division squad, flanked by the Naturals’ hitting coach Terry Bradshaw and trainer Tony Medina.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas was selected to play in his league’s All-Star game for the second straight year – he was a Carolina League All-Star in 2009. The 21-year-old has arguably been the Texas League’s best player this season, leading the circuit in batting average (.337), slugging percentage (.680), total bases (121) OPS (1.091), and RBIs (55). Moustakas also ranks second in home runs (15) and on-base percentage (.411), all while playing this season as one of the youngest players in the league.
Clint Robinson got the nod as the North Division’s starting designated hitter. The 25-year-old Troy product is hitting .282/.372/.500 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs. The Royals’ 2007 25th rounder leads the Texas League in doubles (23) and extra base hits (33), and he ranks third in both RBIs and total bases (119). This is Robinson’s first All-Star selection.
Second baseman Johnny Giavotella has quietly had an excellent season, and he too earned his first All-Star nod. The 2008 second rounder is hitting .276/.357/.360 with 17 extra base hits and 18 RBIs. Giavotella, 22, also leads the Texas League with 41 runs scored, and he ranks second on the Naturals with 28 walks.
Center fielder Derrick Robinson’s breakout offensive season has also landed him his first All-Star selection. The 22-year-old speedster is hitting .291/.370/.367 with eight doubles, five triples, 18 RBIs, and 33 runs scored. He leads the Texas League in stolen bases (28) by a wide margin, and he has played spectacular defense in center all season.
Outfielder Paulo Orlando rode an incredibly hot May (in which he hit .400/.426/.631) to his first All-Star selection. The 24-year-old Brazilian is currently hitting .304/.362/.441 with eight doubles, four triples, two homers, and 20 RBIs. He ranks third in the Texas League in triples and stolen bases (13) and fifth in batting average.
Outfielder Tim Smith rounds out the Naturals’ position player All-Stars as a North Division reserve. The 24-year-old Canadian missed a couple of weeks earlier in the season with a strained quad, but he is currently hitting .299/.382/.457 with eight doubles, four home runs, and 21 RBIs. This is Smith’s second career All-Star selection – the former Rangers farmhand represented Clinton in the 2008 Midwest League All-Star contest, where he was named the game’s “Top Star.”
It was little surprise that Edgar Osuna was named to the North Division roster, since he has arguably been the league’s best pitcher this season. The 22-year-old southpaw is 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA. In 71.0 innings pitched, Osuna has issued just eight walks while fanning 49 hitters and holding opponents to a .243 batting average. The Royals’ 2009 Rule-5 pick leads the Texas League in ERA and ranks second in WHIP (1.03) and third in victories.
Like Osuna, Mario Santiago has also been outstanding this season. Through 13 games and 69.2 innings pitched, the 25-year-old right-hander is 5-5 with a sparkling 2.33 ERA. He has allowed just two home runs this season, and the league is hitting just .252 against him.
Mike Montgomery rounds out the Naturals’ 2010 All-Stars, although he won’t appear in the game. Because of his recent stint on the disabled list, he has been replaced on the North Division roster by the Arkansas Travelers’ Tim Kiely. Nevertheless, Montgomery has been one of the league’s best pitchers since joining the Naturals in early May. In six starts with the club, the 20-year-old southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 29.0 innings pitched.